Church Language: “I” am not the Church, “we” are

A man can climb Everest alone. A strong man can lift a car alone. A woman can give birth alone. And in 2003 we learned that a trapped man can saw off his arm with a pocket knife—alone. Some cultures have a rite of passage ritual where a young boy goes out into the wilderness, alone, and returns a man.

Some things cannot be done solo. A duet. A game of catch. Spiritual growth.

We can pretend that our spiritual lives are individual, and in many ways they seem so. We have individual souls that must trust in Jesus for salvation—a solo decision. We have private thoughts of confession, and much of our Bible reading is done alone. But beyond salvation, the spiritual life becomes a journey of “we” not “I”.

A man cannot be his own church.

The Church, by nature, is a place of community. Therefore, let us be careful about the language we use. Let us say “us” not “me”. Let us say “our” not “my”. When we are offended by someone in our congregation, such language as “I” vs. “them” denies the unity of the body, as if “I” am the Church, not “them”.

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